Bipolar Disorder

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is also known as manic-depressive illness.  Bipolar disorder is a condition which adversely affects the brain and causes strange and serious changes in mood, ability to function, and energy which, in turn, adversely affects an individual’s  jobs and relationships.

People affected by bipolar disorder also experience changes in sleep patterns, behavior, and thinking.  It is estimated that within any given year 5.7 million American adults have bipolar disorder.   Those suffering from bipolar disorder may have times that they feel extremely happy followed by periods of deep sadness and depression.  In between the extreme mood swings those with bipolar disorder tend to feel normal.

What are the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?

General symptoms for this mental condition include feeling extremely hopeful and happy at times followed by periods of deep depression, restlessness, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Bipolar individuals may have the tendency to speak very fast, may become hypersexual, feel little need for sleep and experience inability to make good decisions, feelings of complete hopelessness or worthlessness.

The condition is often connected to alcoholism and drug addiction, taking risks with sex and money, and acting impulsively. Those who suffer from bipolar disorder may lose or gain weight due to changes in appetite, show difficulty with decision-making processes, and preoccupation with death and suicide.

Depression cycles, in turn, are followed by manic episodes that are usually characterized by exaggerated self-esteem, heightened creativity and level of energy.

How is Bipolar Disorder Treated?


Medication is the main form of treatment for bipolar disorder and includes mood stabilizers and antipsychotic drugs comprised of Tegretol, Lamictal, Lithium, Zyprexa, Seroquel, Depakote, as well as antidepressants.  Medication is used in conjunction with talk therapy for best results.


Psychotherapy plan include interpersonal and family therapy together with cognitive-behavioral treatment. Peer and self-help supporting groups can also be relevant solutions for treating bipolar disorder.

Last Reviewed:
September 13, 2016
Last Updated:
August 31, 2017